Evaluation

Link to the other aspects by clicking the appropriate letter  E  O  R  D  E  R

How will you be certain that you have met your goals?  It is critical that this is considered BEFORE embarking on any project because it is important to know what progression has been made as a result of you achieving your goals.  Across a school, how can teachers be certain that their innovation and practice is achieving progress for learners and the school vision?  How will managers know?  How will learners know?

What kinds of evaluation processes will change this knowledge into shared continuous improvement by all?  How can ICT be used to move closer to real time evaluation and greater responsiveness to the views of more people?  How might ICT be allowing opinions to be backed up by evidence?

None of these are easy questions to answer and often we fall back on measuring the things that are easy to measure rather than those that are valuable.  There has been a disproportionate number of studies comparing a whole range of outcomes for girls verses boys and I suspect this is mainly because sex is one of the only definite measures in education!

This century will see much more sophisticated ways emerge for measuring progression and central to this will be ways of measuring all those aims that internationally are considered to be most important such as creativity and teamwork.

Art work and other media have long faced the problem of how to assess them, particularly their monetary value and popular acceptance.  In these cases, peer review has been used extensively and effectively.  The cost of a Van Gogh is what people will pay for it in open auction and there is no formula or computer generated algorithm that can predict this.

The PbyP approach has always been to use this mechanism to measure progression in school.  Progress is evaluated by ‘expert’ peers in other schools and a consensus is reached within this community as to whether the learner has progressed or not.  This will be described later but think for a moment about how your policy would change if you could measure the impact of projects on the creativity of your learners.  This is the kind of evaluation techniques required if we are to break free of gauging the success of 21st century learners using 19th century testing methods.

If you are personalising your school then the following ladder may help you gauge how far you have progressed in this aspect of personalisation and help set targets for further development.  In terms of REORDER this aspect is concerned with how you know learning is being effective and then using this information to adjust the PACE of learning.

Level 1 – One size fits all – All learners in a particular group do the same course  in the same time

  • There is a course written and test deadlines set before the teacher has met the group for the first time.
Level 3 – Choice –  Learners have some choice over the pace at which they complete some tasks

  • The teacher may set minimum expectations and then suggestions for further work or they may set longer projects so that learners can divide up their work by their own timescale.
Level 5 – Personalised ‘For’ Groups – Mastery models or ‘stage not age’ models are used

  • Assessment for learning is used so that aims are clear and teachers can allow learners to progress when they have demonstrated mastery of the aim or provide different approaches if progress is not being made
  • Teachers use test scores as the main method for choosing ‘next steps’ this process may be automated
  • Bulk strategies such as setting and streaming may be used to limit the range of pace for any given task
  • Open ended tasks that are outcomes focussed may be used so that all can finish at the same time despite pace
Level 7 – Teacher Strategy – Evaluation also takes account of competency, motivation, self esteem etc

  • Teacher works primarily on ensuring learners are building their capacity; confident, motivated and enjoying learning, un-learning and re-learning.  Pace is used strategically as part of the toolkit available to the teacher.
Level 9 – Personalised ‘By’ the learner ? – Peers take a much more evaluative and supportive role

  • A collaborative approach to pace provides learners with neutral methods of evaluation so they can take an active role in helping to find choices and interventions that work with their peers.  An ethos of ‘cracking the puzzle together’ rather than pace as a problem ensures learners can explore a range of ways to optimise learning
  • Access to objective and accurate feedback on both their progression in competencies and content is essential.

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